Not long after my retirement from the CT State Police in the late eighties, my wife and I relocated to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and settled in the Village of Allen.
The home we purchased was originally owned Beverly and Laura Hitch, parents of Richard Beverly Hitch. Richard would be one of the missing crew aboard the USS Greyback, lost at sea off Okinawa on February 27th, 1944.
Richards mother, Laura Hitch would at one time turn this home into a Boarding House. It’s been said on Sundays past, you could smell the fried chicken cooking on the stove as you passed by on Allen Rd. Laura Hitch was often seen on the overhanging roof sweeping Sycamore tree bark as it shed each year. I would soon do the same after we moved in. We, like Laura, would entertain the public a year after moving in, turning our home into a Bed & Breakfast.
It is my and other family members belief, along with guests, who have felt the presence of others in the home. We have always thought that presence was Laura Hitch herself. Now that the resting place of Richard has been located, I can only wonder, was he there with us also? Ghosts, Spirits? Stay tuned, sometime soon I’ll expound on these super natural meetings.
Just last week after the Grayback was located, our town Scribe, Melissa Bright sent out the following email to the Village Mailing list. With her permission I attach that email. Melissa, you need to start a Blogging life.
Dear Allen Family – because Allen IS FAMILY –
Today we honor all veterans, but on this day there is news about a specific Allen veteran. Richard Beverly Hitch, son of Beverly and Laura Hitch, and brother to Thornton Hitch, was lost at sea during WWII aboard the submarine U.S.S. Grayback, where he served as an Electrician’s Mate 1st Class.
Today there is a report that the Grayback has been located. All these years, it was unknown where it lay. Recently, a Japanese amateur researcher discovered a single-digit error in the latitude and longitude of where it was believed the Grayback went down. Using this information, the Lost 52 Project, which hunts for missing ships, found the Grayback in June off the coast of Okinawa, where it went down on February 27th, 1944. The Grayback was on its 10th mission, and was among the 20 most successful subs in the U.S. Navy in terms of enemy ships destroyed. It is reported that her career was ended that day in February when a 500 pound bomb made a direct hit on her conning tower.
When these lost ships are found, they are usually considered hallowed ground, the final resting place of the sailors who went down with them. There has been no mention of any attempt to recover remains.
If I can get away from work for a few minutes, the church bell will ring at 11:11 a.m. this morning. There are markers in Richard’s memory, Punchbowl, the National Cemetery for the Pacific in Hawaii, and also here in Allen with his family, under the cedar tree in the Eastern end. At At 5:30 this evening, we will lay flowers at Richard’s marker in the Allen cemetery. Anyone who is interested is invited to come.
Richard was 28 years old when the Grayback went down. Here is his photo from Findagrave.com:
Greyback History: https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/navy-ships/a29765905/uss-grayback-discovery/
Here is a story on the finding of the sub: https://www.whio.com/news/national/submarine-missing-years-discovered-off-japanese-coast/od5azFCGi1dfhCismb7N3L/
There are two Find a Grave pages for Richard, one for each memorial site: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/35050802/richard-beverly-hitch
Lee, Love your blog when I can read it. Miss you and Ree! Never knew you where so articulate in all the years you lived “around the corner”!!!
Thanks, Jim. Miss catching up with the two of you also. Will be heading to CT soon, I’ll look for you in the window of VP. Enjoy the holidays.
Rest in peace, Richard.
I happened upon an article about the discovery of the Grayback and then went to a website listing the lost men on that sub. Interestingly, one of the first names I clicked on was Mr. Hitch, who was from the Eastern Shore (as I am, I live in Ridgely).
Is there anyone in Allen still alive who knew him or about him? Did he have any children or relatives that are still there? I would be interested in any biographical information on this patriot.
Richard O. Smith
Know of the Benedict / St Elizabeth community in Ridgely. We may have one that I know. I shall ask her. Email your contact @ email@example.com